December 14, 2008

‘Elves’ busy at North Pole

Elves at North Pole, Alaska, say they're working furiously to send Santa's replies to thousands of U.S. children who mailed him letters this season.

The elves estimate they'll have sent 20,000 replies from Santa by Monday -- the U.S. Postal Service deadline that guarantees Old St. Nick's reply will arrive before Christmas Day, reported the Fairbanks (Alaska) News Miner.

The effort began in 1954 when personnel at what is now Fort Wainwright answered letters to Santa from children whose fathers were in the military overseas.

U.S. postal workers forward the letters to North Pole where hundreds of volunteer elves from local organizations sort them for Gabby Gaborik, the man who makes sure Santa replies to as many as possible.

I love the way kids fold and fold and fold letters and mash them down into envelopes, Gaborik said. The ones we get when you can tell no one has helped them -- those are the classics.